Save Bluffton's Downtown Historic District
We, the undersigned residents of Bluffton and Wells county, do hereby respectfully petition the City Council of Bluffton, located in Wells County, state of Indiana, to adopt a city ordinance in order to preserve the historic downtown neighborhood of Bluffton, Indiana. Our wish is to let it be known to the City Council that we want our downtown area to be preserved and maintained in a manner true to it's original architectural significance which adds to the unique beauty and character of this neighborhood and our city.
A fire has ravaged through the area and damaged a large number of historically significant buildings on Market and Johnson streets. The owner of the fire ravaged block has stated that the building sustained so much fire damage that it will most likely have to be demolished because the funds necessary to rebuild and restore the building are too cost prohibitive, and the site may be turned into a parking lot. Had there already been an historic property designation on the buildings, there would have been resources available both to the owner and the city for government funds on a state and federal level for assistance in restoration, as well as numerous resources from various Historic Preservation Associations.
Cathy Wright of the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana has provided us with a model Historic Preservation Commission Ordinance that follows the state enabling legislation with criteria for deeming a neighborhood a historically significant area. This type of legislation has already been adopted by many cities and towns throughout Indiana and the United States. The purpose of the Historic Preservation Commission Ordinance is to ensure that any new buildings erected in designated historic areas will be constructed in a manner visually consistent with the existing architecture. It also provides guidelines that additions to pre-existing buildings and houses also be consistent with the current architecture. This applies ONLY to what is visible from the street, it does not apply to the interiors of these homes and buildings. It also has provisions to help prevent the unnecessary demolition of historically and architecturally significant buildings.
The proposed new Historical Preservation Commission Ordinance will ensure that a potentially devastating loss to our city will not become a permanent detriment to the neighborhood and our town. This tragic fire has brought to the forefront the sad knowledge that once these architectural gems are gone, they can never be replaced. It may be too late to save what the fire damaged, but it is not too late to save what remains. Bluffton is known as 'Parlor City' for a reason, and that reason is our lovely victorian architecture. The businesses and homes in this area have been here for over a century; they are unique and irreplaceable. It is our privilege and our duty to take every step imaginable to preserve this piece of American history for future generations to enjoy. We urge the City Council to consider what is at stake and to adopt the Historic Preservation Commission Ordinance without delay.
To view the Model Historic Preservation Commission Ordinance:
To visit the Bluffton Indiana Official website:
Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana Website: